CHARGEBACK HALTS SHIPMENT OF CHINESE COTTON T-SHIRTS

Byline: JIM OSTROFF

WASHINGTON--The U.S. has charged back 1.34 million dozen cotton T-shirts against China's quota for the category, because of alleged transshipping violations.
The action, announced Monday by the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, went into effect immediately, foreclosing further imports this year of the product, category 352, from China. China's 1994 quota is 1.78 million dozen, and it had already shipped 691,000 dozen into the U.S. Thus, the action also means that about 230,000 dozen will be charged against China's 1995 quota.
CITA also announced it was charging back 59,165 dozen against China's 1994 quota for cotton knit shirts other than T-shirts and tank tops, almost all of it in category 339-S. This action will have little impact on shipping, though, since the category has a 1.78 million dozen quota and is far from being filled.
The agency, in a Federal Register notice, said these chargebacks were the result of an investigation that determined the apparel in question had an incorrect country of origin and therefore was illegally transshipped. While some of the apparel reportedly was shipped through Australia and the Maldives, most of it was assembled in the Dominican Republic out of Chinese-cut textiles.
Although the U.S. and China in January signed a new textile bilateral agreement that permits the U.S. to impose treble chargebacks for transshipments, the trebling did not occur in this case, as the alleged violations took place before the new pact was signed.
Ironically, Customs is considering a plan advanced by domestic apparel manufacturers that would change the rule of origin so that a garment would be deemed to be a product of the nation in which it is assembled, not where it is cut. If this were the current rule, most of the chargeback likely would not have been made.
--Fairchild News Service

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